Branches Rocks Leaves

Ellebrius

Hello all, I have questions on what I can and cannot use in my scaping. I read you can use hard wood you find, since I live in Québec I found in the forest some maple branches, the pieces in the picture are from a long ago dead maple that is still standing. So far I have removed the bark an I’m soaking the wood, I will boil it before using it if you say that it’s safe. Next are some rocks I also found in the forest by a creak. So far I have washed them and used a brush on them under lots of water. If I can use them what do I do next to make them safe? Can I bake them and if so for how long and at what temperature? Last I have seen some of you using leaves so I found some dry ones again mostly maple, can I use those and what do I have to do to make them safe.

For the substrate I bought 8kg of Fluval Stratum so I can put in lots of plants and some sand it says, Premium Sand, the grains are bigger than regular sand. I need lots of help please, I had an aquarium when I was younger but it was plastic plants and ornaments. This time I want to create something my fish will be happy and healthy in and that I will enjoy looking at.
 

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SouthAmericanCichlids

Yout can use mostw woods and rocks. There are a few types of wood that are poisonous to fish. I think maple actually is one, but I could just be making that up. Some rocks will raise pH, if you want to know, put vinegar or another acidic substance on it.

I believe you can cook rocks (I just put boiling water on them personally) but don't leave them in too long or they will explode.
 
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Ellebrius

Thank you for your answer, I will boil the rocks if I get another confirmation they are safe and I will try to find a list of which wood are not safe.
 
Upvote 0

Netti

So you can definitely use maple wood in your tank. Just make sure you boil it so you kill off all germs or infestations that may be in and on there.

For the rocks as previously stated, it may change your Ph. It may also harden your water if it leaches a lot of calcium or clay or whatever else. But for more insight you'd have to find out what rocks you have so we can answer you but those just look like big pebbles to me which I would say should be just fine.

To make sure you kill off anything that's on the rocks you can boil them but I prefer a bleach a bleach bath. You can google how to make one but it's essentially 1 part bleach 1 part water. What I do is let the rocks soak in the solution. Keep it inside for a day then leave it in the light/sun for another day. Then rinse, soak in water again for like 2 days, rinse one last time and I put them in the water. I do it like that because I am not too sure how long it takes for bleach to completely evaporat/dissipate. You may have white fuzz on your rocks after bleaching, that's basically dead stuff you'll have to scrape off with a sponge or brush.

For the leaves I also am not sure either but I would guess that if maple wood is OK, then the leaves should be fine? If you aren't sure just buy Indian almond leaves or catapa leaves, they aren't expensive. Remember that leaves will most likely release tannins and make your water brown if you don't have charcoal or purigen. If you do a planted tank and will use fertilisers, remember that filtering with charcoal will remove ferts from the water so you can't keep charcoal.

Anyway, please post pics when you are done scaping :)
 
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Ellebrius

Thank you so much for the detailed answer. i have not done anything so far because I am waiting for the API Master testing kit I ordered from Amazon. I am using water from my artesian well which we drink but I know it’s hard because it leaves stains on the stainless steel sink, so the catalpa leaves will probably be a great addition.
Last night I finally found an article on the web that said maple branches are safe, now that you have confirmed it I will use them, they are soaking. As for the rocks they are large river rocks, I also have some small store bought ones. I want to do a river scaping, I don’t want to use the traditional lava rocks.
right now I am looking for a black background which I haven’t found yet so I think I will be going the flat black paint way.
i have already bought $60 worth of plants that are now stored in large flower vases and the smaller ones are in mason jars.
I also bought the Seachem Fertilisers. But I had no idea carbon removed the fertilize, great to know thanks.
I will be sure to post a picture, probably sometime next week, but I won’t be adding fish till my tank is properly cycled so probably another 7 to 8 weeks.
Again thank you for all the help, it’s appreciate.
 
Upvote 0

Netti

Thank you so much for the detailed answer. i have not done anything so far because I am waiting for the API Master testing kit I ordered from Amazon. I am using water from my artesian well which we drink but I know it’s hard because it leaves stains on the stainless steel sink, so the catalpa leaves will probably be a great addition.
Last night I finally found an article on the web that said maple branches are safe, now that you have confirmed it I will use them, they are soaking. As for the rocks they are large river rocks, I also have some small store bought ones. I want to do a river scaping, I don’t want to use the traditional lava rocks.
right now I am looking for a black background which I haven’t found yet so I think I will be going the flat black paint way.
i have already bought $60 worth of plants that are now stored in large flower vases and the smaller ones are in mason jars.
I also bought the Seachem Fertilisers. But I had no idea carbon removed the fertilize, great to know thanks.
I will be sure to post a picture, probably sometime next week, but I won’t be adding fish till my tank is properly cycled so probably another 7 to 8 weeks.
Again thank you for all the help, it’s appreciate.

So for the black background if you want to avoid paint (takes longer to remove) and still can't find black film, you çan find very dark window tinting film which will work just as well apparently. That's something I saw someone do on YouTube and it looked just fine. If I find the video I'll link it later but maybe do some searches and see what you can find.

River rocks should be just fine in your tank. Just make sure you clean them properly to avoid introducing unwanted bacteria or algae to the tank.

Since you are using well water, make sure you monitor your plant health and algae blooms. Your well water will contain different minerals already which is not a bad thing at all, but since you don't know what's in it, researching the different things that happen to your plants and the different algae that blooms will help you understand. And I would also suggest you start with lean fertilisation, maybe once or twice a week and monitor that for some time. Unless you have CO2 and strong lighting. The water chemistry is quite important for successful planted aquariums. And by successful I mean healthy plants and close to zero algae.

A lot of people use RO water and remineralize the water so they know exactly what's in the water. Check out the "Green Aqua" channel if you enjoy aquascapes and planted tanks. They have a great video on ferts.
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

So for the black background if you want to avoid paint (takes longer to remove) and still can't find black film, you çan find very dark window tinting film which will work just as well apparently. That's something I saw someone do on YouTube and it looked just fine. If I find the video I'll link it later but maybe do some searches and see what you can find.

River rocks should be just fine in your tank. Just make sure you clean them properly to avoid introducing unwanted bacteria or algae to the tank.

Since you are using well water, make sure you monitor your plant health and algae blooms. Your well water will contain different minerals already which is not a bad thing at all, but since you don't know what's in it, researching the different things that happen to your plants and the different algae that blooms will help you understand. And I would also suggest you start with lean fertilisation, maybe once or twice a week and monitor that for some time. Unless you have CO2 and strong lighting. The water chemistry is quite important for successful planted aquariums. And by successful I mean healthy plants and close to zero algae.

A lot of people use RO water and remineralize the water so they know exactly what's in the water. Check out the "Green Aqua" channel if you enjoy aquascapes and planted tanks. They have a great video on ferts.
I
So for the black background if you want to avoid paint (takes longer to remove) and still can't find black film, you çan find very dark window tinting film which will work just as well apparently. That's something I saw someone do on YouTube and it looked just fine. If I find the video I'll link it later but maybe do some searches and see what you can find.

River rocks should be just fine in your tank. Just make sure you clean them properly to avoid introducing unwanted bacteria or algae to the tank.

Since you are using well water, make sure you monitor your plant health and algae blooms. Your well water will contain different minerals already which is not a bad thing at all, but since you don't know what's in it, researching the different things that happen to your plants and the different algae that blooms will help you understand. And I would also suggest you start with lean fertilisation, maybe once or twice a week and monitor that for some time. Unless you have CO2 and strong lighting. The water chemistry is quite important for successful planted aquariums. And by successful I mean healthy plants and close to zero algae.

A lot of people use RO water and remineralize the water so they know exactly what's in the water. Check out the "Green Aqua" channel if you enjoy aquascapes and planted tanks. They have a great video on ferts.

I have seen the video that shows how to use window film but so far I have only seen it sold as a roll of 72 feet for around $80 to $90. But I will keep looking.
i have to use well water or lake water and was told the lake water was not a good idea. I don’t have CO2, I have bright white Led lighting that came with the tank but I’m looking into something better. Using well water will pose a different challenge so yes I can’t wait to go check that Green Aqua channel you mentioned, thank you for that. It will be fun to monitor the plants and algae and I know I can come to this forum for the help I need. I will keep you informed, thanks again.
 
Upvote 0

Netti

S
I


I have seen the video that shows how to use window film but so far I have only seen it sold as a roll of 72 feet for around $80 to $90. But I will keep looking.
i have to use well water or lake water and was told the lake water was not a good idea. I don’t have CO2, I have bright white Led lighting that came with the tank but I’m looking into something better. Using well water will pose a different challenge so yes I can’t wait to go check that Green Aqua channel you mentioned, thank you for that. It will be fun to monitor the plants and algae and I know I can come to this forum for the help I need. I will keep you informed, thanks again.

Bummer on the window tint.. hope you manage to find something!

Ok, I've only been into fish keeping for 3 months and by all means still consider myself a novice. I have however consumed hundreds of hours of videos on fish keeping and aquascaping and read tons of articles and forum threads and if there's one thing I can tell you keeps repeating is that algae is one of the big reasons why people leave the hobby. So you'll need to understand a few things about algae.

First if you get brown algae or diatoms which was my first encounter, remember that it is normal for a new tanks. You can fight it with algae eaters, for me, I used amano shrimp and otocinclus fish. Since then I've had green spot algae which I like the look of, brown beard algae which is ugly and green hair algae which I also don't like.

All these issues are due to imbalances in the tank. Balance lies within a few things but what has stood out for me is light, fertilisation and CO2. For example, if you put on CO2, you'll need strong lighting and regular fertilisation. If you put strong lights, in turn you should add CO2 and have enough fertilisation. If you are not going to have CO2, then you should either reduce the time period during which you keep lights on, or dim the light if you light allows you to. And you should also fertilise sparingly. Finally even if you have CO2, you can have too much CO2 which will cause algae, or too little CO2 which will also cause algae. So don't go buying a very strong light if you are going to run what we call a "low tech setup", which is a tank with no expensive lighting, filtration or CO2 diffusion.

We should also talk about the type of plants you choose. Some plants require very little CO2 and others high CO2. Some plants will turn very red if blasted with light, some plants will be red without a need for extremely bright lights. Try going to tropica.com just to find out what plant likes what. It will help you first learn a bit about the different plants, but more importantly choose low demanding or "easy" plants like anubias, java ferns or amazon swords, which can thrive with a few root tabs in the soil.

Finally, know that having a high tech setup yields results much, much faster than a low tech setup. However, each come with their own problems, besides cost.

Anyway, this is just a bit of information I think that will help You understand planted tanks and properly prepare yourself for taking care of one.
 
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Ellebrius

So much good if not vital information. What kind of system do you have? Is it high tech? I am planning on starting with one aquarium but adding more as I go. I want to try breeding angelfish, so for this first tank once it is balanced I want to add 6 panda coydoras first and if everything goes well a week or two later I would like to add 6 Congo Tetras then once those are established I want to add 6 Koi Angelfish. Now those will all be tiny babies, as they grow I am hoping at least 2 angelfish will pair off and those will be moved to a new breeding aquarium just for them. The others will also be moved to another new tank when they outgrow the first tank and replaced by other young community fish.
Thats the plan, but first I need to scape and reach the goal zero algae . You have been through the process and your help is invaluable, like you I have been watching videos and studying like crazy. This is for me the most wonderful hobby and I finally have the time to get started and enjoy myself. I have a dedicated fish room and buying high tech equipment is not a problem at all, I just want to know what I’m doing first and what I should be spending money on.
I cleaned and boiled my rocks and wood today, Amazon says I will be receiving my API kit Saturday. It’s suppose to rain all day Saturday and Sunday so that’s when the serious big start will be happening.
I’m off to watch more videos, say hi to your fish for me.
 
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Mcasella

Any leaves you use in tank you will want them brown and dried. (All but mulberry, which can go into the tank slightly green but fully crisped/dry - shrimp love it.)
 
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Basil

If you’re not opposed to taping the background to the tank, simple black poster board has worked great for me as a black background.
 
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Ellebrius

If you’re not opposed to taping the background to the tank, simple black poster board had worked great for me as a black background.
Great idea! That will do till I find the real thing, better than paint. Thank you.
Any leaves you use in tank you will want them brown and dried. (All but mulberry, which can go into the tank slightly green but fully crisped/dry - shrimp love it.)
Can’t wait to get some shrimp. Happy to hear they love crispy leaves!
 
Upvote 0

Netti

So much good if not vital information. What kind of system do you have? Is it high tech? I am planning on starting with one aquarium but adding more as I go. I want to try breeding angelfish, so for this first tank once it is balanced I want to add 6 panda coydoras first and if everything goes well a week or two later I would like to add 6 Congo Tetras then once those are established I want to add 6 Koi Angelfish. Now those will all be tiny babies, as they grow I am hoping at least 2 angelfish will pair off and those will be moved to a new breeding aquarium just for them. The others will also be moved to another new tank when they outgrow the first tank and replaced by other young community fish.
Thats the plan, but first I need to scape and reach the goal zero algae . You have been through the process and your help is invaluable, like you I have been watching videos and studying like crazy. This is for me the most wonderful hobby and I finally have the time to get started and enjoy myself. I have a dedicated fish room and buying high tech equipment is not a problem at all, I just want to know what I’m doing first and what I should be spending money on.
I cleaned and boiled my rocks and wood today, Amazon says I will be receiving my API kit Saturday. It’s suppose to rain all day Saturday and Sunday so that’s when the serious big start will be happening.
I’m off to watch more videos, say hi to your fish for me.
That sounds like a fun project!

Ok so you have a 40 gallon tank which is bigger than any of the 3 tanks I have which are 15g, 10g and 5g. I use a cheap CO2 system which I manually turn on every morning. It's like the fluval mini CO2 kit but I'm using a diffuser instead of the chambers the kit comes with. It's not what I'd recommend you buy, I will be buying a proper CO2 kit when I buy my next tank which will be a 55 gal a few months from now. So if you want a very nice aquascape, again I'll suggest you check out the Green Aqua channel, they cover lights, CO2, and ferts. For a cheaper alternative to lighting you can also check MD Fish tanks' channel as he does low tech setups and gets great results. But for lights, cheap or expensive, go with LED.

Before buying your fish I suggest you check optimal water parameters (temperature, Ph, etc...) for each animal you plan to house in your tank. That way you will have good synergy. Also remember that parameters may change for some species of fish when it's for breeding or just living.

As I mentioned I am still fairly new to the hobby, I got great results with my tanks in just 3 months because I did a lot of research and also had some failures because no matter how much research I did, I'm a human being who's a beginner and sometimes thinks I know better. But the majority of the success comes from applying what I kept seeing in videos and articles.

For the most part, I'd suggest you buy timers. One for your light and one for your CO2's solenoid. You have a fairly big tank so you can look into a CO2 reactor which will connect in line with your filter if you have an external canister filter. Have your CO2 go on at least 2 hours before the lights go on. Buy a CO2 checker and try to have it lime green by the time the lights go on and monitor that it doesn't go yellow while the lights are on. CO2 can also go off about 1 to 2 hours before the lights go off. If you do a cycle with fish in, test your water regularly like every other day in the beginning, then weekly after 45 days. I did buy test strips because they are faster for testing the water (Cory did a comparison between strips and the API master test kit, you can check the YouTube video). And keep up with weekly water changes, they are vital to having a good balance in the tank. For ferts, just try whatever works best for youi use Seachem's line because that's what's available in South Africa but I'm sure Thrive or Easy Green or whatever else is on the market can work too.

Just so you know, shrimp don't like CO2 so you have to keep CO2 levels under 15ppm (parts per million) with shrimps like neocaridina and especially caridina shrimp. If you do that, you will get algae that thrives in environments where there is not enough CO2 like hair algae. That's what's happening in my shrimp tank right now.

Anyway, spend some time on the channels I mentioned here, it will definitely help :)
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

The branch and the brown leaves are safe. The rocks likely are too, as they are obviously granite which is inert, meaning they won't harden the water. For preparation: Just boil over everything. Boiling or near boiling water is enough. No need to cook the rocks. Some types of porous rocks can explode when heated, many rather crack when first heated and then suddenly cooled down. Granite is not one of these rocks.

If the well has really hard water (you can't test this with the API master kit, GH and KH tests are sold separately. One reason I dislike that company) breeding Angels won't be happening any time soon. Have you thought about getting the wellwater lab-tested as I suggested?
Also I wouldn't combine fin nippers like congo tetras with angelfish.

I have a dedicated fish room and buying high tech equipment is not a problem at all, I just want to know what I’m doing first and what I should be spending money on.

Then I implore you to not add any high-tech stuff, and no CO2, for the time being. Especially with the CO2, beginners can make two essential mistakes: Either they buy a cheap system that can't be upgraded later on or you buy an expensive one that has more features than you actually need. In both cases money thrown out and frustration levels are high.
Get used to the basics of fishkeeping, generally upgrading is always possible. Downgrading is too, but then you already paid money for stuff you don't need.
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

The branch and the brown leaves are safe. The rocks likely are too, as they are obviously granite which is inert, meaning they won't harden the water. For preparation: Just boil over everything. Boiling or near boiling water is enough. No need to cook the rocks. Some types of porous rocks can explode when heated, many rather crack when first heated and then suddenly cooled down. Granite is not one of these rocks.

If the well has really hard water (you can't test this with the API master kit, GH and KH tests are sold separately. One reason I dislike that company) breeding Angels won't be happening any time soon. Have you thought about getting the wellwater lab-tested as I suggested?
Also I wouldn't combine fin nippers like congo tetras with angelfish.



Then I implore you to not add any high-tech stuff, and no CO2, for the time being. Especially with the CO2, beginners can make two essential mistakes: Either they buy a cheap system that can't be upgraded later on or you buy an expensive one that has more features than you actually need. In both cases money thrown out and frustration levels are high.
Get used to the basics of fishkeeping, generally upgrading is always possible. Downgrading is too, but then you already paid money for stuff you don't need.
I boiled the branches, did the vinegar test on the rocks(no fizz) so I boiled the rocks also. I am going to get catalpa leaves today if I have time. You see today is Thursday the day of the week we go to the city to shop. It’s a one hour drive there and one hour back so we don’t go often. When in town I will pick up the vials for the water test on my well, fill them and bring them back next week so the can be analyzed.
I want to wait a long time before I breed angelfish which is why I’m getting tiny babies to start. This will give me time to get to know them and learn about water chemistry. There is an Article on the forum here called Angelfish care and it recommends Congo Tetra (amongst onther fish) as co-inhabitants for Angels. I also researched the Congo Tetras and it says they are shy and peaceful fish which is why I chose them.
I will be posting again in the Aquarium Water Thread when my water results start coming in.
Thank you for your help and advice.
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

I also researched the Congo Tetras and it says they are shy and peaceful fish which is why I chose them.

I don't know where you read that. While yes, they are mostly peaceful towards other species among each other they can be rough.
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

That sounds like a fun project!

Ok so you have a 40 gallon tank which is bigger than any of the 3 tanks I have which are 15g, 10g and 5g. I use a cheap CO2 system which I manually turn on every morning. It's like the fluval mini CO2 kit but I'm using a diffuser instead of the chambers the kit comes with. It's not what I'd recommend you buy, I will be buying a proper CO2 kit when I buy my next tank which will be a 55 gal a few months from now. So if you want a very nice aquascape, again I'll suggest you check out the Green Aqua channel, they cover lights, CO2, and ferts. For a cheaper alternative to lighting you can also check MD Fish tanks' channel as he does low tech setups and gets great results. But for lights, cheap or expensive, go with LED.

Before buying your fish I suggest you check optimal water parameters (temperature, Ph, etc...) for each animal you plan to house in your tank. That way you will have good synergy. Also remember that parameters may change for some species of fish when it's for breeding or just living.

As I mentioned I am still fairly new to the hobby, I got great results with my tanks in just 3 months because I did a lot of research and also had some failures because no matter how much research I did, I'm a human being who's a beginner and sometimes thinks I know better. But the majority of the success comes from applying what I kept seeing in videos and articles.

For the most part, I'd suggest you buy timers. One for your light and one for your CO2's solenoid. You have a fairly big tank so you can look into a CO2 reactor which will connect in line with your filter if you have an external canister filter. Have your CO2 go on at least 2 hours before the lights go on. Buy a CO2 checker and try to have it lime green by the time the lights go on and monitor that it doesn't go yellow while the lights are on. CO2 can also go off about 1 to 2 hours before the lights go off. If you do a cycle with fish in, test your water regularly like every other day in the beginning, then weekly after 45 days. I did buy test strips because they are faster for testing the water And keep up with weekly water changes, they are vital to having a good balance in the tank. For ferts, just try whatever works best for youi use Seachem's line because that's what's available in South Africa but I'm sure Thrive or Easy Green or whatever else is on the market can work too.

Just so you know, shrimp don't like CO2 so you have to keep CO2 levels under 15ppm (parts per million) with shrimps like neocaridina and especially caridina shrimp. If you do that, you will get algae that thrives in environments where there is not enough CO2 like hair algae. That's what's happening in my shrimp tank right now.

Anyway, spend some time on the channels I mentioned here, it will definitely help :)
Hey! I have been watching the MD channel for months now! He’s my favorite his tanks are gorgeous. When I decided to try an aquarium again I had no idea what waterscaping was, he inspired me. correct me if I‘m wrong but he doesn’t use CO2 much? I’m pretty sure I will be getting into it one day but I gotta get started first!
i did not know about the Aqua Green channel though, they give all the important information, i am enjoying watching it Thank you for the heads up.
I have been working with terrestrial plants all my life, advising people on what to buy and how to care for plants. I also did a lot of landscaping now I want to learn all about underwater plants and fish. I’m dedicated to it so I think that like you I will learn fast and hopefully do a good job.
now I have to leave to go to the city. Ttys
I don't know where you read that. While yes, they are mostly peaceful towards other species among each other they can be rough.
I read that right here on this forum in the fish profile section:Temperament / Behavior: Peaceful and tolerant, may nip at delicate and succulent plants. Just don't keep with fish that are robust, hyperactive, and aggressive.
it also says :Congo tetras are timid by nature it is not advisable to keep them with much larger fish, very fast fish or fish that are aggressive toward them. They can also be frightened by loud noises. This might stress them, again another point in that they are not colorful anymore this time due to stress.

Time to go to the city. TTS.
 
Upvote 0

Netti

Hey! I have been watching the MD channel for months now! He’s my favorite his tanks are gorgeous. When I decided to try an aquarium again I had no idea what waterscaping was, he inspired me. correct me if I‘m wrong but he doesn’t use CO2 much? I’m pretty sure I will be getting into it one day but I gotta get started first!
i did not know about the Aqua Green channel though, they give all the important information, i am enjoying watching it Thank you for the heads up.
I have been working with terrestrial plants all my life, advising people on what to buy and how to care for plants. I also did a lot of landscaping now I want to learn all about underwater plants and fish. I’m dedicated to it so I think that like you I will learn fast and hopefully do a good job.
now I have to leave to go to the city. Ttys

I read that right here on this forum in the fish profile section:Temperament / Behavior: Peaceful and tolerant, may nip at delicate and succulent plants. Just don't keep with fish that are robust, hyperactive, and aggressive.
it also says :Congo tetras are timid by nature it is not advisable to keep them with much larger fish, very fast fish or fish that are aggressive toward them. They can also be frightened by loud noises. This might stress them, again another point in that they are not colorful anymore this time due to stress.

Time to go to the city. TTS.
You're right, MD doesn't use CO2 in most cases. He might one or two tanks with CO2. But he also has like 30 fish tanks and wouldn't be able to handle that kind of growth ^^ my tank is about 3 months old, this is what it looks like today:


20210623_171644.jpg

I trim this guy every week or other week with the growth I'm having. I use some trimmings, others I try to give away or ultimately throw away. If you check the photo you'll see that I have quite a bit of green spot algae. But it's ok with it, I think it makes the tank look alive. Anyway that's the kind of growth you can expect in just a short period of time with CO2. It's work but I find it relaxing to trim the aquarium.

Also I agree with what someone said before regarding buying the wrong things. You should definitely dip your toe, make sure you enjoy it and that a low tech planted tank is not too much work as it is. Then if you really love it, get CO2, strong lights, better ferts and all that jazz. I went in like a supernova and spent tons of cash. I should have gotten a big tank from the start. Now I have 3 tanks. I don't regret buying cheaper CO2 systems, I think I can manage to sell them off with a tank later. But If I decide in 3 months that this isn't for me, I'm pretty much gonna be depressed for a year lol
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

I read that right here on this forum in the fish profile section:

Which needs a lot of updating... I found them quite aggressive among each other, the niping on other fishes fins was not an aggression issue, rather filamentous fins seem to attract them. But many medium sized tetras do this. Alternatively you might want to take a look at red-eye moenkhausia.
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

W
You're right, MD doesn't use CO2 in most cases. He might one or two tanks with CO2. But he also has like 30 fish tanks and wouldn't be able to handle that kind of growth ^^ my tank is about 3 months old, this is what it looks like today:


20210623_171644.jpg

I trim this guy every week or other week with the growth I'm having. I use some trimmings, others I try to give away or ultimately throw away. If you check the photo you'll see that I have quite a bit of green spot algae. But it's ok with it, I think it makes the tank look alive. Anyway that's the kind of growth you can expect in just a short period of time with CO2. It's work but I find it relaxing to trim the aquarium.

Also I agree with what someone said before regarding buying the wrong things. You should definitely dip your toe, make sure you enjoy it and that a low tech planted tank is not too much work as it is. Then if you really love it, get CO2, strong lights, better ferts and all that jazz. I went in like a supernova and spent tons of cash. I should have gotten a big tank from the start. Now I have 3 tanks. I don't regret buying cheaper CO2 systems, I think I can manage to sell them off with a tank later. But If I decide in 3 months that this isn't for me, I'm pretty much gonna be depressed for a year lol
WOW!!! Your tank is gorgeous! You can give MD a run for his money, I’m really jealous. To bad we live so far apart I could really use you leftover plants.
I know what you mean when you find trimming your plants relaxing, I have many flowerbeds and I find it very relaxing to trim and water my flower gardens. It’s something I really miss during our long Winters so the aquarium will fill that void.
I’m still waiting for my test kit Amazon says it should come tomorrow then I’ll get started, I’m really getting impatient.
If you are not too busy and have the time I will send you pictures as I go along and ask for advice.
I doubt very much that you will decide aquariums are not for you, I think you will be enjoying them for a long time.
Thank you I will definitely investigate the red eye tetras, I’m also thinking maybe honey gouramis?
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

Only 22 so far… well 23 now.
Thanks :) I'd have been happy to help with cuttings and stems. I see how much I throw out and it just annoys me so much. But it is what it is..

You're welcome to message me. I'll send you a message now. I know that new members can't message unless they have posts or replies on the forum. Not sure if you'll be able to reply though lol.

Edit: seems like I can't message you, maybe because you didn't reach that 50 posts mark.
No, only 22 so far… well 23 now!
Which needs a lot of updating... I found them quite aggressive among each other, the niping on other fishes fins was not an aggression issue, rather filamentous fins seem to attract them. But many medium sized tetras do this. Alternatively you might want to take a look at red-eye moenkhausia.
Which needs a lot of updating... I found them quite aggressive among each other, the niping on other fishes fins was not an aggression issue, rather filamentous fins seem to attract them. But many medium sized tetras do this. Alternatively you might want to take a look at red-eye moenkhausia.
Thank you I will definitely investigate the red eye tetras, I’m also thinking maybe honey gouramis?
 
Upvote 0

Mudminnow

I would advise against baking or boiling your rocks.

Sometimes little bits of water has seeped into the rocks. When the rocks are heated, this water turns to steam, expanding and putting pressure on the inside of the rocks. If you're unlucky, the rocks can explode. This is why it can be dangerous to put river rocks around a fire pit for example.

Edit: I just noticed SouthAmericanCichlids already mentioned this. Still, better safe than sorry I guess.
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

I would advise against baking or boiling your rocks.

Sometimes little bits of water has seeped into the rocks. When the rocks are heated, this water turns to steam, expanding and putting pressure on the inside of the rocks. If you're unlucky, the rocks can explode. This is why it can be dangerous to put river rocks around a fire pit for example.
I would advise against baking or boiling your rocks.

Sometimes little bits of water has seeped into the rocks. When the rocks are heated, this water turns to steam, expanding and putting pressure on the inside of the rocks. If you're unlucky, the rocks can explode. This is why it can be dangerous to put river rocks around a fire pit for example.

Edit: I just noticed SouthAmericanCichlids already mentioned this. Still, better safe than sorry I guess.
roj
thank
roj
thank
Rocks are done and thankfully no explosion. Thank you for the warning. Hopefully I will be starting my river scaping Sunday and put those rocks to good use,
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

I’m also thinking maybe honey gouramis?

Those have different needs concerning plants and structure. I would not mix them with Angels and bigger tetras. The little guys will only be shadows of what they can actually be if they had a separate dedicated tank.

My advise: Stick to fish from one biotope type and if possible even the same continent. Many people new to the hobby get a lot of their frustration from doing a community setup (mixing species regardless of needs and provenience) in which one or several species do very badly, some do ok and only few really thrive. People might say differently but many that disagree with my opinion about that have little regard for the fishes wellbeing or don't see obvious problems even when right in front of their noses. It gets frustrating to see the same stocking mistakes being made over and over again with community setups.
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

Excellent advice which I will follow, I definitely want my fish to be happy in their environment and thrive. I researched the red eye tetra and you are correct they would fit perfectly in my tank and be a beautiful addition as well, I’m going to go with those.
Thank you for keeping at me and making sure I make the right decision. I appreciate your help.
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

You're welcome!
Whenever I decided to help someone out I make sure to help plan longterm, even if that means to make clear that their original plan had some flaws. In the end the fish are first priority, so I'm rather honest and tell people their plan won't work out instead of helping to develop a strategy to get people what they want, even when I know it won't work out well for anyone, fish or human, involved. Often you see the opposite, people only trying to help to achieve a preset goal, no matter what.
(Also, always take a look at a user's experience, in case they filled out that part of their profile. That often helps to correctly filter the information you get.)
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

I am not afraid to change course when proven wrong by someone who knows better. Au contraire, the welfare of my fish is my first goal and good advice is what I’m here for. So what do you think of Koi Angelfish? They would be my first choice but are they genetically healthy? And are the panda corydoras the right choice for the bottom of my tank? Would adding some shrimps to my tank be ok?
 
Upvote 0

Netti

I am not afraid to change course when proven wrong by someone who knows better. Au contraire, the welfare of my fish is my first goal and good advice is what I’m here for. So what do you think of Koi Angelfish? They would be my first choice but are they genetically healthy? And are the panda corydoras the right choice for the bottom of my tank? Would adding some shrimps to my tank be ok?
Koi Angels are still angels. Just sélective breeding so they exhibit the same colors that occur on Koi fish so they should be healthy.

When it comes to Corys I have a few albinos, I would ask what you want from your bottom feeders... As far as my experience goes, Corydoras are great for messing with your substrate and lifting detritus from the substrate which is great for keeping the surface clean. However, they will also uproot plants that haven't had the time to properly develop a stable root system. Corys will however not eat algae. Otocinclus on the other hand are awesome as algae eaters. Finally, nothing comes close to a little army of amanos. I initially purchased 8 of them. Put them in my tank and 2 weeks later, diatoms and hair algae were gone. So I move them to different tanks.

Now from what I've read and seen on YouTube, bristlenose plecos and siamese algae eaters are also good at taking care of algae.

Also check out the behavior of the fish you are thinking of putting in your tank. If you are like me and want to feel relaxed and see graceful motions in your tank, avoid Cory's. They are super active, moving non stop, and sometimes just darting to the top then back down. That can kinda break that whole relaxed vibe.
 
Upvote 0

SouthAmericanCichlids

I'd suggest against angels in a 40, as angels get very tall and need room to establish territory. Imo the smallest you can have them in is a 50 gallon (Or possibly a 40 with weird dimensions). But f your opinion is they can go in a 40g (I won't judge), you can read my article on them, it gives a lot of info on them: Angelfish Care
I've also found kois to have strong genetics.
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

Koi Angels are still angels. Just sélective breeding so they exhibit the same colors that occur on Koi fish so they should be healthy.

When it comes to Corys I have a few albinos, I would ask what you want from your bottom feeders... As far as my experience goes, Corydoras are great for messing with your substrate and lifting detritus from the substrate which is great for keeping the surface clean. However, they will also uproot plants that haven't had the time to properly develop a stable root system. Corys will however not eat algae. Otocinclus on the other hand are awesome as algae eaters. Finally, nothing comes close to a little army of amanos. I initially purchased 8 of them. Put them in my tank and 2 weeks later, diatoms and hair algae were gone. So I move them to different tanks.

Now from what I've read and seen on YouTube, bristlenose plecos and siamese algae eaters are also good at taking care of algae.

Also check out the behavior of the fish you are thinking of putting in your tank. If you are like me and want to feel relaxed and see graceful motions in your tank, avoid Cory's. They are super active, moving non stop, and sometimes just darting to the top then back down. That can kinda break that whole relaxed vibe.
Bristlenose plecos are scary looking! I’m not sure I can handle looking at them everyday. Have to check the Siamese algae eaters you suggested, first time I hear of those. One of the reason I really like angels is because they are so relaxing to watch, so I will have a look for a different specie for the bottom of my tank that will be a little more subdued.
I'd suggest against angels in a 40, as angels get very tall and need room to establish territory. Imo the smallest you can have them in is a 50 gallon (Or possibly a 40 with weird dimensions). But f your opinion is they can go in a 40g (I won't judge), you can read my article on them, it gives a lot of info on them: Angelfish Care
I've also found kois to have strong genetics.
I read your whole article and loved it! Thank you so much for all the invaluable info on angelfish. My plan is to get tiny baby angelfish so I can watch them grow and learn more about them and their behavior. As soon as they reach a certain size they will be moved, I will buy them a 55 to 60 gallon tall tank (if that exists) and make sure they have lots of room for their gorgeous fins. I am also trying to get the very best tank companions for them to grow up with. Later if they are happy and comfy maybe 2 of them will pair off and I will have to buy another tank again just for the two of them.
 
Upvote 0

Ouse

Hi Ellebrius,

Bleaching rocks isn’t entirely safe because it can cause the rocks to leech whatever is in the bleach into the tank for weeks.

If you have a high KH, adding rocks or wood won’t alter the pH. A high KH prevents pH swings. My own tap water has a KH of 13dKH while in the tanks it’s 11dKH. I have driftwood and rocks but the pH has always been 7.5.

I live in an area with hard water and sedimentary rock such as chalk, so I wouldn’t use local wild rocks in my aquariums.

———————————————————————

Otocinclus aren’t algae eaters, which is contrary to popular belief. They only eat the aufwuchs that settle on the algae. Getting them to accept commercial food is difficult and the otos usually starve to death before it can happen.

More fish equals more nitrogen production, which equals more algae. This is the reason adding fish to remove algae will often have the opposite effect. Most fish that have a diet containing algae have large bioloads and lose their habit of eating algae as they mature.

If there is no algae growing at all I would be as concerned as I would be if there was a fierce bloom.

———————————————————————

Female bristlenoses don’t grow bristles, so these wouldn’t be as scary to you assuming the bristles are what makes the fish appear scary. There are many pleco species of a similar size that might tingle your interest.

I hope this clears things up for you.
 
Upvote 0

Netti

Bristlenose plecos are scary looking! I’m not sure I can handle looking at them everyday. Have to check the Siamese algae eaters you suggested, first time I hear of those. One of the reason I really like angels is because they are so relaxing to watch, so I will have a look for a different specie for the bottom of my tank that will be a little more subdued.

Yes I also don't really like the look of bristlenose plecos. Since some posts were deleted I will repeat what MacZ as he was right in pointing out that Siamese Algae eaters do specialise in Black Beard Algae and that they do better in schools. I've never owned them but I can confirm that's what he says in his videos. He also mentions that they do get quite large so a bigger tank is important.

As for the Otocinclus fish, my experience with them is that they do eat the Algae. They ate my Diatoms (which are not exactly Algae) quickly and also cleaned hair algae from my other tank. I however did read that they often are carriers of diseases so they should be quarantined, and are prone to starve to death when the tank is clean so I did dose Bacter AE to promote biofilm formation and made sure to get them when I had quite a bit of algae in both tanks before I got them. I am not sure why, but my Otos just love Hikari Algae waffers and have that big rounded pearl belly. But it's not my first time reading that it can be difficult to switch them to processed foods.
 
Upvote 0

FishDin

Last I have seen some of you using leaves so I found some dry ones again mostly maple, can I use those and what do I have to do to make them safe.

I like to use oak leaves. They stay on the tree after they die, so I just pick them from the tree in fall-winter (I live in Northeast U.S). They seem much more durable than maple and so might last longer before breaking down.
 

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Ellebrius

What a great idea! I live in the forest so leaves is the least of my worries. I picked maple leaves because I read that maple wood was safe but I love the look of oak leaves. I will make sure I pick some of those this fall.
Yes I also don't really like the look of bristlenose plecos. Since some posts were deleted I will repeat what MacZ as he was right in pointing out that Siamese Algae eaters do specialise in Black Beard Algae and that they do better in schools. I've never owned them but I can confirm that's what he says in his videos. He also mentions that they do get quite large so a bigger tank is important.

As for the Otocinclus fish, my experience with them is that they do eat the Algae. They ate my Diatoms (which are not exactly Algae) quickly and also cleaned hair algae from my other tank. I however did read that they often are carriers of diseases so they should be quarantined, and are prone to starve to death when the tank is clean so I did dose Bacter AE to promote biofilm formation and made sure to get them when I had quite a bit of algae in both tanks before I got them. I am not sure why, but my Otos just love Hikari Algae waffers and have that big rounded pearl belly. But it's not my first time reading that it can be difficult to switch them to processed foods.
This thread is missing some posts but I get all the posts in my mailbox and I read them all there because I find reading them here is sometime confusing with all the merges.

On that note MacZ in reply to your last post I can’t find here, the one that finishes with you saying you had missed my tank size which is 40 gallons I am rethinking my fish selection since the more I read and the more people make suggestions I am discovering new fish.

Back to Netti now… You won’t believe what I did!!! I went shopping yesterday and when I got home I emptied my tank and I started again this morning. I really, really want to do this right and I want my plants to grow and be as beautiful as yours. I put in the Fluval Stratum from volcanoes which is supposed to be the very best for plants. I rinsed it like it says, added my rocks and a couple of branches then added water very slowly using a plate but now it’s really murky in there so I have to wait. In the meantime I am washing and separating all the new plants like MD showed us. When the water clears I will plant everything, finish adding the water and power up the filter. Hopefully I will get everything done this afternoon and be able to post a picture, then we can discuss my mistakes.
When I get the scape finished to my liking we can start discussing fish population. I have been reading up and discovered new species. Time to get back to work.
BTW Ellebrius is a female called Louise.
 
Upvote 0

Netti

What a great idea! I live in the forest so leaves is the least of my worries. I picked maple leaves because I read that maple wood was safe but I love the look of oak leaves. I will make sure I pick some of those this fall.

This thread is missing some posts but I get all the posts in my mailbox and I read them all there because I find reading them here is sometime confusing with all the merges.

On that note MacZ in reply to your last post I can’t find here, the one that finishes with you saying you had missed my tank size which is 40 gallons I am rethinking my fish selection since the more I read and the more people make suggestions I am discovering new fish.

Back to Netti now… You won’t believe what I did!!! I went shopping yesterday and when I got home I emptied my tank and I started again this morning. I really, really want to do this right and I want my plants to grow and be as beautiful as yours. I put in the Fluval Stratum from volcanoes which is supposed to be the very best for plants. I rinsed it like it says, added my rocks and a couple of branches then added water very slowly using a plate but now it’s really murky in there so I have to wait. In the meantime I am washing and separating all the new plants like MD showed us. When the water clears I will plant everything, finish adding the water and power up the filter. Hopefully I will get everything done this afternoon and be able to post a picture, then we can discuss my mistakes.
When I get the scape finished to my liking we can start discussing fish population. I have been reading up and discovered new species. Time to get back to work.
BTW Ellebrius is a female called Louise.

I heard of Fluval Statum yes, I know it's rich in minerals and I know that it's good for planted tanks, highly porous and shrimp safe. I've never used it though but fluval does make good products! I went with Seachem Flourite as we don't have eco-complete and the next best thing would have been ADA Amazonia which was way out of budget as I was just starting and unsure of whether or not I'd like keeping fish! So my substrate is also supposed to be rich in minerals but I still added root tabs. Try checking if people have done so as well with Fluval Stratum? Worked out really well for me.

So you can actually switch on your filter, I switched mine on right away, some of the floating particles got caught in my sponge and rinsed it off while cycling. What kind of filtration do you have? I can't remember anyone mentioning it but if you have activated carbon in your filter, rather replace it with some Seachem Purigen because the activated carbon will actually filter out the liquid ferts. I'm recommending the Purigen because that's what I use and what's recommended by the Green Aqua guys.

For the plants, make sure you keep them wet, it might take some time for the tank to clear up. Mine got crystal clear after 24h but I have a 15 gal. My dad's tank is a 50 gal, took about 48h for his to clear up.

Looking forward to seeing the tank with the hard scape ^^
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

I heard of Fluval Statum yes, I know it's rich in minerals and I know that it's good for planted tanks, highly porous and shrimp safe. I've never used it though but fluval does make good products! I went with Seachem Flourite as we don't have eco-complete and the next best thing would have been ADA Amazonia which was way out of budget as I was just starting and unsure of whether or not I'd like keeping fish! So my substrate is also supposed to be rich in minerals but I still added root tabs. Try checking if people have done so as well with Fluval Stratum? Worked out really well for me.

So you can actually switch on your filter, I switched mine on right away, some of the floating particles got caught in my sponge and rinsed it off while cycling. What kind of filtration do you have? I can't remember anyone mentioning it but if you have activated carbon in your filter, rather replace it with some Seachem Purigen because the activated carbon will actually filter out the liquid ferts. I'm recommending the Purigen because that's what I use and what's recommended by the Green Aqua guys.

For the plants, make sure you keep them wet, it might take some time for the tank to clear up. Mine got crystal clear after 24h but I have a 15 gal. My dad's tank is a 50 gal, took about 48h for his to clear up.

Looking forward to seeing the tank with the hard scape ^^
Well I’m done for today, I’m exhausted as well. My tank is tall so I need to use a step ladder, I don’t know how many times I had to climb that ladder with a bucket of water to get that thing filled, took forever. I included a photo, you can see my plants are all bent out of shape from being in jars for over a week, hopefully they will straighten up as they reach for the light. I’m going to my fish store tomorrow so I will see if i can find more plants.
i have an in tank filter it uses a cartridge that looks like it has carbon inside. I was going to replace it with the sponge MD uses but I will look for that Purigen you mentioned. It also has a little bag of ceramic bio rings in it.
I still have a lot of work to do, my branches were disturbed when I poured the water in and need to be placed again so do a few other things. The water is still murky as well but I said I would post a photo so here it is.
 

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Netti

Well I’m done for today, I’m exhausted as well. My tank is tall so I need to use a step ladder, I don’t know how many times I had to climb that ladder with a bucket of water to get that thing filled, took forever. I included a photo, you can see my plants are all bent out of shape from being in jars for over a week, hopefully they will straighten up as they reach for the light. I’m going to my fish store tomorrow so I will see if i can find more plants.
i have an in tank filter it uses a cartridge that looks like it has carbon inside. I was going to replace it with the sponge MD uses but I will look for that Purigen you mentioned. It also has a little bag of ceramic bio rings in it.
I still have a lot of work to do, my branches were disturbed when I poured the water in and need to be placed again so do a few other things. The water is still murky as well but I said I would post a photo so here it is.

Yeah my father has the same problem, he got an 80 tall and he has to climb on a chair every time he needs to work on his tank. He's in his mid 70s so that doesn't help lol..

Otherwise the tank looks lovely, it has that river feel with those rocks. The leaves will add nice detail along with the smaller pebbles. The plants will definitely straighten up with some time, I ordered some of mine through the mail and they would always arrive looking like they went 15 rounds with Mike Tyson.

For the in tank filter it will be fine with the ceramic rings and purigen yes. Hopefully the packet fits in. You should still have a bit of sponge so that debris doesn't make it into the propeller (a problem I'm currently having even with the sponge) otherwise it will start making a bit of noise and you'll have to take out the propeller and magnet to clean inside.
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

Yeah my father has the same problem, he got an 80 tall and he has to climb on a chair every time he needs to work on his tank. He's in his mid 70s so that doesn't help lol..

Otherwise the tank looks lovely, it has that river feel with those rocks. The leaves will add nice detail along with the smaller pebbles. The plants will definitely straighten up with some time, I ordered some of mine through the mail and they would always arrive looking like they went 15 rounds with Mike Tyson.

For the in tank filter it will be fine with the ceramic rings and purigen yes. Hopefully the packet fits in. You should still have a bit of sponge so that debris doesn't make it into the propeller (a problem I'm currently having even with the sponge) otherwise it will start making a bit of noise and you'll have to take out the propeller and magnet to clean inside.
You see the horizontal small bubble lines on the sides of the glass, each of those represents a pail of water I climbed the 3 step ladder to pour in the tank. . I got the tall tank because I wanted angels, now I’m not even sure what kind of fish I’m gonna get. What kind does your father keep?
I’m going to town this morning and I will drop by the fish store to see if I can get some Purigen, when I get back I will test my water and see where I’m at then I will do a little more work on my scaping and send you another photo. I also need to find something to test the hardness of my water and find out what I can do about it if it’s too hard. The Fluval Stratum helps with the PH but not the hardness.
My next project is setting up a 5 or 10 gallon Betta tank! Exciting!
 
Upvote 0

Netti

You see the horizontal small bubble lines on the sides of the glass, each of those represents a pail of water I climbed the 3 step ladder to pour in the tank. . I got the tall tank because I wanted angels, now I’m not even sure what kind of fish I’m gonna get. What kind does your father keep?
I’m going to town this morning and I will drop by the fish store to see if I can get some Purigen, when I get back I will test my water and see where I’m at then I will do a little more work on my scaping and send you another photo. I also need to find something to test the hardness of my water and find out what I can do about it if it’s too hard. The Fluval Stratum helps with the PH but not the hardness.
My next project is setting up a 5 or 10 gallon Betta tank! Exciting!

My dad only keeps a few angels and à few bottom dwellers. That's why he went with an 80cm tall. Apparently it goes well with angels because of the body shape so should also be a plus for you if you start off with tiny baby angels. I think it's perfectly fine to start with baby angels with your tank size if you are sur you will re-home them in a bigger tank maybe in 3 to 6 months. Check out growth rates and stuff and you should get a better time frame.

As I said I use test strips, they are quick and efficient. Just don't buy API's strips, apparently they are duds. The Tetra ones are more reliable according to different youtubers. You can also cut the strips in half lengthwise to save money so 50 strips will turn into 100 strips

Bettas are amazing, definitely my favorite fish to keep. I have 2, one has a really strong character and the other actually comes to me right at the top of the tank so I can feed him vibration bites one by one. I'd suggest to go with a 10gal so you can also get the betta a few mates and also have a few plants in there so the betta can go and lay down on them. They are smart fish so are quite curious. They are compatible with quite a few fish so that'sa big plus. You just have to avoid fin nippers. I'd recommend you make sure you don't buy anything sharp as decoration if you have a betta with long fins. And whatever mates you get should also, like the betta, enjoy very low water flow. Finally make sure the tank you get doesn't give off reflections inside.
 
Upvote 0

Ellebrius

Hello! Been busy here with company but I haven’t neglected my tank. I posted in the water condition thread go have a look.

I am definitely going to get a 10 gallon Betta and friends tank like you suggested above, it’s going to be so much fun I am really looking forward to it. How do you test a tank to find out if it’s reflective inside and yes that makes a lot of sense for a beta but I would never have thought of that. Poor little guy would be in battle position all day and become quite exhausted. I haven’t started reading about betta environment and what kind of stuff they prefer in their tank yet but I plan to.
But first I have to get mi big tank under control. Please go check and tell me what you think.
 
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